The Illinois Fire Service Institute (IFSI) will celebrate a milestone when it hosts a Command and General Staff Class in December. The event will mark the enrollment of the one-thousandth student in the course, which is part of the Illinois Terrorism Task Force (ITTF) training plan.
The Command and General Staff Class is the core course for Incident Management Teams (IMT), which are comprised of members of local emergency-response organizations. Team members are available for deployment statewide or nationwide to assist communities during catastrophic emergencies.
The thousand-student milestone sets a national standard for training IMT members and meeting requirements for participation in the National Incident Management System (NIMS), which is part of the Department of Homeland Security.
IFSI Director Richard Jaehne said the success of the Illinois course is a result of IFSI’s cooperation with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA), the National Fire Academy and several other mutual aid response organizations. “The presentation of unified command and coordination training statewide for public safety agencies is an essential part of Illinois’ homeland security strategy,” said Mike Chamness, Director for the Illinois Emergency Management Agency.
“The sheer numbers of responders who need this training made it impossible for the Federal Government to provide enough courses,” Jaehne said. “Our partnership with other response organizations has made it possible for us to offer this critical preparation to more than 1000 first responders in Illinois.”
IFSI conducted the first Command and General Staff Class in Springfield in 2005. Since then, the training has been offered in Champaign, Normal, Quincy and several locations in the city and suburbs of Chicago. The course is available free to students through funds provided by the ITTF Training Committee.
The course is taught by instructors from many disciplines, including the fire service, law enforcement and emergency management. The instructors are either full-time staff at the Fire Service Institute or field staff instructors.
“This is a splendid example of federal homeland security grant funding well spent,” said Jaehne. “It helps coordinate the efforts of many response organizations to provide emergency assistance to Illinois citizens whenever and wherever it’s needed.”
The Illinois Fire Service Institute is the statutory fire academy for the state of Illinois. In addition to training provided at the Champaign campus, the Institute offers online classes and conducts training throughout the state at Regional Training Centers and local fire stations. The mission of the Illinois Fire Service Institute is to help firefighters do their work through training, education, information and research.
For more information about the Institute, call 217-333-8921 or visit www.fsi.uiuc.edu